Research in Europe suggests drinking more than a pint of beer per day can substantially increase the risk of some cancers.
A study of more than 360,000 people, reported in the British Medical Journal, found one in 10 of all cancers in men and one in 33 in women were caused by past or current alcohol intake.
More than 18% of alcohol-related cancers in men and about 4% in women were linked to excessive drinking.
The study calculated that in 2008 current and past drinking habits were responsible for about 13,000 cancer cases in Britain, out of a total of 304,000 cases.
The BBC reports that previous research has shown a link between alcohol consumption and cancers of the oesophagus, liver, bowel and female breast.